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  • Writer's pictureJessica Johnson

Finding Emotional Freedom

How are you at processing emotionally charged situations?  As adoptive moms we are faced with a lot of them.  Many of us have felt betrayed by our bodies for not being able to bear biological children.  Some of us are raising children who were exposed to drugs and or alcohol in the womb.  We are daily bearing the consequences of a birth mother’s poor choices.  Some of us have taken on a kinship placement and may have feelings of resentment towards someone in our extended family.    Perhaps you may be holding on to anger toward your child, your spouse or one of your parents. 

Last week I was feeling kind of stuck and struggling to find joy.  I felt an overall sense of heaviness, but I couldn’t put my finger on what the exact problem was.  I am grateful for a mentor who pointed out that I might have some built-up anger in me that needed to be released.  She told me that God wouldn’t be shocked or afraid of seeing my anger because he already knows it’s there. 

I decided to take a 24-hour solo retreat to some family property an hour’s drive away with the goal of releasing my anger in a healthy way.  The accommodations were rustic (no running water, limited solar electricity and one bar of cell service when standing outside on a rock).    I found that being unplugged and immersed in nature was such a freeing experience.  Not having to answer to the outside world enabled me to focus all of my attention on the inner work I needed to do.  I used this format: The Total Truth Letter | Seoul Solutions for writing prompts and an outline for working through the 6 basic layers of emotion:

Anger

Pain

Fear

Regret

Desire

Love/Appreciation

I spent time crying, writing letters that I never intended to give, I did some yelling and found that chopping wood was great way to release anger.  By the end of my time, I ripped up the letters I wrote and threw them in the fire as a sign of releasing these things that were taking up space inside of me.  When I left the retreat, I felt lighter.  I had a new sense of freedom.  I was ready to re-engage with my family and be intentional about some creative pursuits that had brought me joy in my years before parenting.

I would encourage you to explore whether you too might have some anger that needs to be released in a healthy way so that you can get in touch with the desire and love that may be currently blocked.  In his book The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, Gabor Mate’ talks extensively about the connection between suppressed anger and chronic illness. 



We all process anger differently.  The important thing is to release your anger in a safe way.  Not everyone needs to go on a retreat, scream or hit things.  Some personality types will find that finding a quiet place to write a letter is enough.   

Lastly, finding consistent practices to release anger in healthy ways will keep it from building up inside and help us to have more emotional freedom.  As we are diligent in attending to our own emotional health, we will have a deeper capacity to help our children with the complex emotions that will inevitably show up for them.



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